Resilience assessment of centralized and distributed food systems

Ebrahim P. Karan, Sadegh Asgari, Somayeh Asadi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Resilience, defined as the ability of a system to adapt in the presence of a disruptive event, has been of great interest with food systems for some time now. The goal of this research was to build understanding about resilient food systems that will withstand and recover from disruptions in a way that ensures a sufficient supply of food for all. In large, developed countries such as the USA and Canada, the food supply chain relies on a complex web of interconnected systems, such as water and energy systems, and food production and distribution are still very labor-intensive. Thanks to economies of scale and effective use of limited resources, potential cost savings support a push towards a more centralized system. However, distributed systems tend to be more resilient. Although distributed production systems may not be economically justifiable than centralized ones, they may provide a more resilient alternative. This study focused on the supply-side aspects of the food system and the food system's water, energy, and workforce disruptions to be considered for the resilience assessment for the USA, with an example for the state of Texas. After the degree of centralization (DoC) was calculated, the resilience of a food system was measured. Next, the relationship between labor intensity and production of six major food groups was formulated. The example for Texas showed that the decentralization of food systems will improve their resilience in responding to energy and water disruptions. A 40 percent reduction in water supply could decrease the food system performance by 28%. A negative correlation was found between the resilience and DoC for energy disruption scenarios. A 40 percent reduction in energy supply could decrease the food system performance by 34%. In contrast, achieving a more resilient food system in responding to labor shortage supports a push towards a more centralized system the decentralization of food systems can in fact, improve their resilience in responding to disruptions in the energy and water inputs. In contrast, achieving a more resilient food system in responding to labor shortage supports a push towards a more centralized system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-75
Number of pages17
JournalFood Security
Volume15
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Development
  • Agronomy and Crop Science

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Resilience assessment of centralized and distributed food systems'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this